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Sure japers we haven't seen you in donkey's years! A guide to Irish saying and their meanings. Photo by: Photocall Ireland

35 Irish sayings and phrases you need to learn before you visit

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Sure japers we haven't seen you in donkey's years! A guide to Irish saying and their meanings. Photo by: Photocall Ireland

To give someone a fright. This is what you'll do when you're staying with an Irish friend or relative and you accidentally walk in on them in the shower.

In use: "Jaysis you put the heart crossway in me, I didn't see you there at all!"

12. "The press"

A press is what we all a cupboard in Ireland. However, the "hotpress" ... Well that's a different matter altogether!

In use: "Hold on now till I get the biscuits from the press."

13. "Wrecked"


If you're very tired. Normally used after a big night out.

In use: "We were out last night until half six this mornin'. I'm wrecked now though."

14. "The guards"


If you think you know all the lingo before you come over to Ireland by learning the police are called the Gardai, and that a policeman is called a Garda, you're in for a big surprise. We don't called them that at all in everyday conversation, we just call them guards.

In use: "We may turn down music down, and tell John to get off the roof! The neighbours will have  the guards on us any minute."

15. "Wet the tea"


There's a lot of phraseology around tea. Most importantly, if anyone asks you to wet the tea they're telling you to throw a few teabags in the teapot and pour boiling water in.

In use: "Sit down there and relax while I go wet the tea."

16. "Like hen's teeth"


Derived from the original phrase "as rare as hen's teeth," but has been shortened over the years. Pretty much means something is rare. Have you ever seen teeth in a hen? Me neither.

In use: "Ah sure we used to have lots of eligible bachelors rounds these parts, but they're like hen's teeth now."

17. "Diesel" and "petrol"



If you rent a car when you're visiting Ireland and you need to refuel, you needn't go looking for "gas," which is something else all together and entirely unrelated to driving or flatulence! You have to find out whether the car is "diesel" or "petrol" and fill it with that. Not with green diesel, mind you. That last thing you want is to get dipped by the guards.

In use: "Give me €20 worth of petrol, please."

18. "The boot"


This is what we call the trunk of in a car. So if you're heading on a day out and your great aunt tells you to "throw everything into the boot," you know exactly what she means!

In use: "Is anyone able to come help me bring in the shopping from the boot?"

19. "Minerals"


This is what we call soft drinks. Beware if you're visiting old people: they'll automatically assume you love a mineral called 7Up and will force feed you with it.

In use: "You can't drink because you driving? Well sure you'll have a mineral instead!"

20. "Pint of Gat"


A "pint of Gat" is another name for Guinness. On that note, when drinking Guinness, look towards the horizon so you don't drink the head. And if someone asks if it's good Gat, and you're not sure how to judge it, simply respond with "sure look it."

In use: "Give me two pints of Gat and a bottle of Bulmers."

21. Ossified

Very drunk. What you'll end up after too many pints of Gat.

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